Scientists have discovered a black hole of 2.1 billion years from a quarry of Gabon to a revolutionary development in the history of life on Earth – the ability of organisms to move from place to place.
The researchers described yesterday fossils of small tubular structures created when known organisms passed through soft mud in search of food in a calm and shallow marine ecosystem.
The fossils date back to a time when the earth was rich in oxygen and bragging conditions to help develop a more complex cellular life.
Life grew in the days of the Earth as single-celled organisms about four billion years ago, but the earliest forms of life lacked the ability to move independently, called motility.
The Gabon fossils are about 1.5 billion years older than earlier evidence of motility and appearance of animals.
The Gabon bomb dumps were a treasure trove, containing fossils of the most famous ancient organisms.
"What is important here is their incredible complexity and diversity in size and size, and probably in terms of metabolic, developmental and behavioral patterns," said Adraz al-Albani of the University of Poitiers in France.
The fossils did not include the organisms themselves.
The tubular structures, up to 6.7 inches (170 mm in length), were originally made of organic matter, possibly mucous strands left by organisms moving through the mud.
The researchers say the structures may have been created by a multicellular organism or by the aggregation of single-cell organisms similar to a sluglike organism that is formed when certain amoebaes are grouped.
By comparison, the first vertebrates appeared 525 million years ago.
Originally posted as mobile organisms first lived 2.1b yrs